Paul Zorner

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Paul Zorner
Zornerp.jpg
Paul Zorner
Birth name Paul Zloch
Born 31 March 1920
Roben district of Leobschütz, Upper Silesia
Died 27 January 2014 (aged 93)
Homburg
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force
Years of service 1939–45, 1956–57
Rank Major
Unit KGr.z.b.v. 104
NJG 2, NJG 3, NJG 5, NJG 100
Commands held 8./NJG 3, III./NJG 5, II./NJG 100
Battles/wars
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Other work mechanical engineering

Paul Anton Guido Zorner, born Paul Zloch (31 March 1920 – 27 January 2014)[1] was a German night fighter pilot, who fought in the Luftwaffe during World War II. Zorner is credited with 59 night aerial victories claimed in 272 missions, including 110 night fighter missions.[2] Zorner was the ninth most successful fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe and in the history of aerial warfare.[3]

Born in 1920 to a large family, Zorner left school in 1938 to pursue a military career. He applied to join the Luftwaffe and was accepted as a Fahnenjunker (officer candidate) in October 1938. Zorner completed his training and was licensed to fly multi-engine aircraft. He was posed to 4. Staffel (squadron) Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung 104 (KGr. z.b.v. 104, Fighting Group for Special Use) to fly Junkers Ju 52 transports. Zorner participated in the Battle of Greece and Battle of Crete in April and May 1941. Zorner also operated in the Middle East flying supplies to Syria during the Anglo-Iraqi War. Zorner continued with the unit and from June to October 1941 flew in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

On 20 October 1941, Zorner transferred to the German night fighter arm. He completed his training as a night fighter pilot in July 1942 and was posted to Nachtjagdgeschwader 2. On 3 October 1942, Zorner was posted to 10. Staffel (squadron) Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (NJG 3, Night Fighter Wing 3). Zorner claimed his first victory on 17 January 1943 and on 3 March, achieved the five victories necessary to qualify as a night fighter ace (Experte). On 9 September 1943 he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 8./NJG 3 after achieving 12 victories. Zorner achieved his 20th victory on 3 January 1944 and was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 20 March 1944 for 35 night victories.

On 4 April 1944, Zorner was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5). On 9 June, Zorner was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 48 bombers destroyed. Zorner was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 17 September 1944. Zorner was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./NJG 100 on 13 October 1944 and remained the commanding officer until May 1945. Zorner achieved his 59th, and last, a victory on 5/6 March 1945.

Zorner surrender to United States Army forces on 8 May 1945. Zorner and his unit were handed over to the Red Army on 17 May and he remained a prisoner in the Soviet Union until December 1949. After his release he studied engineering and retired in 1981. Paul Zorner died in January 2014 aged 93.

Early life[edit]

Paul Zorner was born on 31 March 1920 in Roben, Leobschütz, Upper Silesia. He was a son of head teachers and one of eight children.[4] Zorner expressed an interest in Glider flying in his early years but the size of the family strained his parent's financial resources and he could not take up the hobby.[4] In the spring, 1938 aged 18, Zorner passed his Abitur, school leaving certificate.[5] Zorner desired a military flying career and he applied to join the Luftwaffe and was accepted as a Fahnenjunker (officer candidate) in October 1938.[6]

On 8 November 1938 Zorner began his Flugzeugführerausbildung (pilot training) as a learner pilot at Oschatz-Sachsen.[7] On 14 March 1939 he was accepted as Fähnrich and transferred to Berlin-Gatow. There, he completed the first stage of his officer training on 31 October 1939. Zorner progressed through the A/B Schools (elementary flying schools) and trained at the Flugzeugführerschule C in Lönnewitz to gain his pilot license on multi-engine aircraft from 1 November 1939 to the 30 June 1940. He was promoted to the officer rank Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) on 1 April 1940.[7][Note 1]

From 4–30 June 1940 Zorner was based at the Fluglehrerschule (flight instructor school) in Brandenburg and from the 1 July 1940 – 15 January 1941 he attended the Flugzeugführerschule C 11 to complete his advanced training. Zorner attended the Blindflugschule (Blind Flying School) at Neuburg an der Donau from 23 August–16 September 1940 to qualify for night flying.[7]

World War II[edit]

Zorner was posted to 4. Staffel (squadron) Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung 104 (KGr.z.b.v. 104—Fighting Group for Special Use) to fly the Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft. The unit deployed to Athens, Greece in April 1941. It assisted in the airborne drop against CreteUnternehmen Merkur (Operation Mercury). Zorner flew over 160 missions in the Mediterranean and North African theatre.[6] The most notable action was the Anglo-Iraqi War in May 1941. KGr.z.b.v. 104 flew spare part supplies for Zerstörergeschwader 76 (Destroyer Wing 76) in Iraq.[6] Zorner recorded transport flights from Athens to Aleppo.[5] Zorner was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class on 6 June 1941 for his service.[6] KGr.z.b.v. 104 then moved to Romania to participate in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. It supported Army Group South in the initial assault but then disbanded in the autumn.[6] Zorner left KGr.z.b.v. 104 on 8 October 1941.[7]

Night fighter[edit]

Zorner joined the German night fighter force on 20 October 1941 and was ordered to Schleißheim, Austria, to attend the Nachtjadgschule 1 (Night Fighter School 1) to begin conversion and night fighter training on the Messerschmitt Bf 110. At Schleißheim Zorner learned the rudiments of air combat and day fighter tactics which he completed on 28 December 1941. From 1 January 1942 Zorner undertook night fighter training Nachtjadgschule 1, at the Ingolstadt base.[7] On 1 April 1942 he was promoted to Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant).[6] He graduated on 20 May 1942.[7] The final phase of training was completed with Ergänzungs-Nachtjagdgruppe (Supplementary Night Hunting Group) at Stuttgart.[7]

Zorner was posted to 8. Staffel (squadron), II. Gruppe (Group) Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 (NJG 2—Night Fighter Wing 2) based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands on 1 July 1942.[8][6] On 3 October 1942 Zorner was moved again, this time to 10./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 (NJG 3—Night Fighter Wing 3), at Grove, where he remained until 5 December 1942.[8] The next day he was ordered to Wittmundhafen and appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 2./NJG 3. Zorner held this command until 15 March 1943.[8] The Staffel was equipped with the Dornier Do 217 night fighter. Zorner disliked flying the Dornier and lobbied his commanding officer, Gruppenkommandeur Egmont Prinz zur Lippe-Weißenfeld to fly the Messerschmitt Bf 110. Lippe-Weißenfeld agreed on the condition that he flies both operationally in rotation with other units.[9]

On the night of 17/18 January 1943 Air Officer Commanding RAF Bomber Command, Arthur Harris ordered an attack on Berlin. 170 Avro Lancaster and 17 Handley-Page Halifax bombers carried out the operation. It was to be the last attack on the German capital until the H2S ground scanning radar became available.[10] Zorner intercepted a Halifax 45 kilometres (28 miles) northwest of Juist and shot it down at 21:55.[11] Zorner achieved this success on his 14th mission as a night fighter pilot.[9]

Bomber Command attacked Wilhelmshaven with 177 aircraft—129 Lancaster, 40 Halifax and eight Short Stirlings on 11/12 February 1943. The Pathfinders found that the Wilhelmshaven area was covered by cloud. The British marked the target by parachute flares using H2S. The naval ammunition depot at Mariensiel to the south of Wilhelmshaven blew up and caused widespread damage in the naval dockyard and in the town.[12] Zorner engaged a Lancaster 40 kilometres (25 miles) west northwest of Borkum and claimed it shot down over the North Sea.[9] Zorner was the only pilot in the Luftwaffe to claim a victory on this night.[13] One of the three crews lost in the operation flew in Lancaster I, DX-D, of No. 51 Squadron RAF. Sergeant K. T. Dutton and his six crewmembers disappeared and were listed "lost without trace."[14]

After his second victory, Geschwaderkommodore Johann Schalk warned Zorner for leaving the Do 217s idle. On Zorner's next flight, he operated the type.[9] Zorner claimed his third victory on 19 February, north of Norderney at 20:34. The bomber was recorded as a Douglas A-20 Havoc.[15] During the engagement Zorner's Dornier sustained a hit in the wing and one through the starboard engine casing causing an oil leak, necessitating a forced-landing on one engine. Although Zorner claimed a probable, an anti-aircraft artillery battery had witnessed the enemy bomber flying just above the sea before it disappeared into the mist. Since it's recovery was deemed impossible, he was granted the victory.[16] Zorner's victim was Vickers Wellington II, BJ919 OW-P of No. 426 Squadron RAF piloted by Sergeant J. O. R Gauthier.[16][17] Sergeants H. R. Bailey, F. Ruzycki, R. C. Ramsay, R. Flight Sergeant W. Ferrier and Pilot Officer A McKinnon, all of RCAF, were posted missing in action. The aircraft has never been found, and likely crashed into the North Sea.[17] On the night of 26 February Zorner claimed a Short Stirling northwest of Schiermonnikoog at 20:46.[18]

Ruhr and Baltic[edit]

Air Marshal Arthur Harris, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) RAF Bomber Command escalated the air war in 1943 and began a concerted effort to destroy the industrial German Ruhr region through area bombing. From March to July 1943 Bomber Command began the campaign, dubbed the Battle of the Ruhr. Harris had 53 squadrons, 16 of which were medium bombers equipped with H2S terrain mapping radar.[19] Zorner's first victory in the defence of the Ruhr came on the night of the 7/8 March 1943 northeast of Norden at 20:50 when he claimed a Wellington. The only other claimant was Karl-Heinz Scherfling.[20] Zorner's victim was probably Wellington HE202, SE-Z, piloted by Sergeant Derek Cecil of No. 431 Squadron RAF. The bomber was conducting "Gardening" (minelaying operations) by the Frisian Islands when it was shot down. All five crewmen became prisoners of war.[21]

Zorner claimed another Wellington on 13/14 March at 03:51, north of Norderney, one of only two claims.[22] This machine was BK296, PT, from No. 420 Squadron RCAF. Pilot Flight Lieutenant Charles Harrison Tidy and his crew were killed.[23][24] Zorner was made Staffelkapitän of 8./NJG 3 two days later.[8] In April 1943 Zorner was ordered to carry out two daylight operations against the United States Army Air Force (USAAF). Zorner found the task unsuitable for the Bf 110. A combat box of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers had eight firing positions and a formation of nine could muster over 100 guns. The Bf 110 was adjudged to be only 40 km/h (25 mph) faster and the most effective tactic, the head-on-attack, could only be executed three times for the aircraft could not position itself in front of the bomber formations quickly enough: the endurance of two hours forty-five minutes was not sufficient for these lengthy manoeuvres.[25] On the second sortie he flew Lippe-Webenfeld's Bf 110 but was hit in both wings and engines and force-landed without success near Cloppenburg.[26]

An electrical device with three round displays, cables and control knobs.
Lichtenstein cathode-ray tubes:
 • The left tube indicated other aircraft ahead as bumps.
 • The centre tube indicated range to a specific target and whether they were higher or lower.
 • The right tube indicated whether the target was to left or right.[27]

Zorner claimed his 7th victory on 28/29 June southeast of Antwerp, Belgium at 02:20. It was recorded as a Halifax bomber.[28] Another Wellington was claimed southwest of Sint-Truiden at 01:09. Zorner achieved his 10th victory west of Malmedy at 01:53.[29] Zorner's 11th victory was shot down northeast of Groningen at 03:54 on 24/24 July.[30] His victim was Halifax R5573 flown by Flight Sergeant Kenneth Hector Wally McLean from No. 106 Squadron RAF.[31] Zorner saw the Halifax crash and explode which resulted in a fire-work display of green, red and white flashes. They assumed the aircraft to be a pathfinder, and the flashes exploding flares. Soon afterwards Zorner and his crewman had to abandon the Bf 110G-4 because an engine caught fire. Zorner extinguished the fire but he could no longer calibrate the propeller pitch to a glide setting. The other power plant could not cope with the added workload and the Bf 110 began to lose height. Zorner ordered his crew to leave. Zorner struggled to exit as his parachute snagged. He managed to clamber back into the cockpit and lower the flaps which slowed the aircraft and afforded him time to unhook the parachute from the strengthening beam in the cockpit and parachute to safety.[32]

Zorner had to wait several weeks for another successful engagement. On 18 August 1943 Bomber Command carried out Operation Hydra, an attack on the Peenemünde Army Research Center. At 01:53 over the Baltic Sea Zorner claimed a Lancaster followed by another Lancaster over Peenemünde at 02:03—his 13th victory.[33] It was his last victory with 3./NJG 3. On 9 September 1943 he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8./NJG 3.[8]

Battle of Berlin[edit]

At the beginning of November 1943 Zorner's Bf 110G was fitted with a FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 radar. The new radar was not affected by "window".[34] On the night of 18/19 November 1943 as RAF Bomber Command began their Berlin offensive and Zorner led 8. Staffel through his most successful period of operations. Operating from Lüneburg, Zorner scrambled to intercept 383 aircraft, 365 Lancaster, 10 Halifax and eight de Havilland Mosquito bombers which attacked Berlin on 23/24 November 1943. Zorner caught a Lancaster at 20:09 northwest of Berlin and dispatched the bomber for his 14th victory.[35] On 2 December, Zorner accounted for two Lancaster bombers: one near Diepholz at 19:24 and southwest of Berlin at 20:29.[36] On 20 December at 20:02 claimed a Lancaster. The location was recorded as "Hintetmeiligen".[37] On 23/24 December 1943 Bomber Command returned to Berlin. Zorner claimed three Lancasters: one east of Giessen at 03:02, another south of Diepholz at 05:43 and a third at 06:02 over Cloppenburg.[37] One of the bombers was Avro Lancaster III ED999, KM-X, from No. 44 Squadron RAF, piloted by Sergeant R. L. Hands. Hands and his crew were killed in action.[38]

Rear view of a Bf 110G's rear cockpit glazing with MG FF/M Schräge Musik.

Zorner maintained his success in 1944. Over Luckenwalde at 03:10 on 3 January 1944 Zorner accounted for his 21st victory. On the 6 January at 02:42 and 02:51 he claimed two Lancasters northwest of Stettin and on 20 January at 19:31 and 19:45 he claimed one Lancaster bomber respectively, while operating north of Berlin.[39] These victories were achieved with the Schräge Musik which had been installed on his Bf 110G-4 prior to the patrol.[40] Four weeks later, on 15 February, Zorner filed claims for two Lancaster bombers at 20:22 and 21:11 near Berlin. The latest Lancaster bombers took his victory total to 27. On 20 February at 03:04 and 03:17 near Wesendorf, at 03:26 over Gardelegen, and at 03:41 south of Briest, Zorner claimed a Lancaster shot down to record his 28th–31st aerial victories.[41]

On 24/25 February 1944, Bomber Command turned its attention to Schweinfurt. 554 Lancaster, 169 Halifax and 11 Mosquito bombers carried out the attack. The route took the bomber stream over Stuttgart. Bomber Command lost 26 Lancaster and seven Halifax bombers (4.5 per cent).[42] Zorner claimed five bombers shot down, becoming an ace in one sortie. The first claim was made west of Stuttgart at 22:15, southwest of the city at 22:22, southwest at 22:30, west at 00:25 and finally north of Stuttgart at 00:51. All five were Lancasters. The latter two claims were made after midnight thus Zorner did not qualify for ace in a day status.[43] By day-break Zorner had been officially credited with 35 enemy bombers destroyed in night operations.[44]

On 1 March 1944 Zorner was promoted to Hauptmann (Captain).[6] He continued to command 8. Staffel. He downed two Lancasters on 22 March in the Frankfurt area between 21:42 and 22:16.[44] A solitary claim on 24 March was followed by a triple claim on 26 March. A single Lancaster was engaged and destroyed north of Oberhausen at 22:01, west of Sint Truiden at 23:03 and then southwest of Brussels at 23:12.[44] For his achievements in battle Zorner was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 20 March 1944.[45] On 4 April 1944 Zorner was appointed Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) of III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5), based at Mainz Finthen Airport having relinquished his command of 8. Staffel the day before.[8] In the early hours of 21 April 1944 Zorner claimed a rare victory for the German night fighter arm—a de Havilland Mosquito. Southeast of Antwerp at 03:00 Zorner spotted an aircraft which appeared to be a Junkers Ju 88 flying on one engine. Zorner closed to 50 metres (165 feet) and saw it was an enemy aircraft. He fired a burst that shattered the good engine. The British bomber dived into haze and four minutes later the crew observed an explosion on the ground. The following morning a Mosquito was confirmed shot down.[46] The Mosquito belonged to No. 169 Squadron RAF. DD616, was operating out of RAF Little Snoring, Norfolk. Flight Lieutenant Morgan and his navigator Flight Sergeant Bentley baled out.[46]

Gruppenkommandeur[edit]

On the night of 27–28 April 1944 Bomber Command struck at Friedrichshafen with 322 heavy bombers. The diversion attacks confused German defences and no bomber was lost on the inward flight. The German night fighter reorganised and 18 were shot down on the homeward route. Zorner intercepted southeast of Nancy at claimed it destroyed at 01:20. After 31 minutes Zorner's radar operator Heinrich Wilke gained another contact and Zorner duly shot down a second Lancaster southwest of Strasbourg. Northwest of Friedrichshafen, he shot down another bomber at 02:10.[47] Zorner claimed a single victory on 1 June at 02:35 over Tergnier and the 3 June northwest of Evreux.[48]

On 6 June 1944 Operation Overlord began. On that morning the D-Day landings began in Normandy. Within twenty-four hours Zorner's Gruppe had relocated to Athies-sous-Laon. The night fighter force resisted the Allied air forces over France by night and the skies over France became a target-rich environment. The RAF Second Tactical Air Force and the Ninth US Tactical Air Force flew night operations alongside bomber command. For the Luftwaffe, the night actions also produced dangers. Their bases were within easy range of No. 100 Group RAF night fighters.[47]

Two days after his deployment to France, Zorner was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 9 June for 48 victories. He received the award from Joseph Schmid, commanding 1. Jagdkorps On the night of the 10/11 June 1944 he shot down four bombers targeting railway installations. The victories (nos. 49–52) were recorded west and southwest of Dreux with two more Lancaster bombers falling over Verneuil-sur-Avre between 01:00 and 01:42. The first three bombers were claimed within eight minutes.[49] Zorner achieved a double victory on 25/26 June. Bomber Command sent 739 bombers including 53 Lancaster, 165 Halifax and 39 Mosquito bombers to attack the V-1 flying bomb sites in the Pas-de-Calais. At 00:30, east of Boulogne Zorner shot down a Lancaster with his front-firing guns and he used his Schärge Musik armament to down a second—his 54th victory.[50]

On the 1 July at 01:22 near Bourges Zorner shot down another Lancaster. On 24/25 July 1944 Bomber Command returned to the V-1 sites. Northwest of both Strasbourg and Saint-Dizier, between 02:35 and 02:54 Zorner claimed victory number 57 and 58.[51] Zorner remained with NJG 5 but did not file another claim as the German front in Normandy collapsed. On 17 September 1944 Zorner became the 588th recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). It was not presented to Zorner until 2 December 1944 when he was handed the medal by Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe at the Reichsluftfahrtministerium.[50] By this time III./NJG 5 was based at Lübeck.[8]

Zorner was transferred from front-line operations and on 13 October 1944 he appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 100 equipped with Ju 88G night-fighters based at Nový Dvůr.[8] On 1 December 1944 Zorner was promoted to Major. He commanded the unit in operations over Czechoslovakia and Austria until 8 May 1945.[52] The promotion came six days after his radar operator Feldwebel Heinrich Wilke, was awarded the Knight's Cross on 25 November 1944 for participating in all Zorner's 58 victories.[50] II./NJG 100 was subordinated to the 7th Jagddivision (7th Fighter Division).[50]

The Geschwader relocated several times owing to Red Army advances, moving to Vienna, Linz, Prague and finally to Karlsbad in western Germany.[8] The Gruppe was overloaded with 53 of the Ju 88G-6 models and Zorner had 630 men under his command. Only 35 were technically fit for operations and he classified only four as combat ready. On the evening of 5/6 March 1945, the group was ordered to scramble a single Ju 88. Zorner decided to fly himself, after a long period of non-operational flying. South southwest of Graz, he shot down Consolidated B-24 Liberator at 01:30.[53]

One B-24 was lost on this night to a night fighter.[54] Liberator VI KH150, "R", of 34 Squadron SAAF was shot down and the crew were killed.[55] Lieutenant J. B. Masson, C. E. Park, Second Lieutenant C. D. Foord, Flying Officer F. S. A. Thomas, A. R. Thomas, M. A. Ueckermann, R. V. Wilkso and Sergeant A. Stables died.[55] They are buried in Udine, Italy.[56]

Later life[edit]

Zorner surrendered his Gruppe to United States Army forces near Karlovy Vary on 8 May 1945. Only Zorner and an interpreter were allowed through the lines. Zorner refused to abandon his men and for a week he remained with them under American guard. He was then handed over to Soviet Forces on 17 May. The men were marched without food for 190 kilometres (120 mi) to Hoyerswerda north east of Dresden. Zorner was separated from his men and confined with 2,000 other officers. They survived on rations of fish soup and bread. In October 1945 he was transported to the Caucasus Mountains, in southern Russia. Some 500 officers were sent to a camp at Tkibuli, near Kutaisi, in the Georgian region of the Soviet Union. The prisoners organised the camp themselves. They were permitted to travel within a 64 kilometres (40 mi) radius around the camp as long as their work assignments were complete. The German prisoners received some form of monetary payment.[57]

Highy decorated officers were responsible for the kitchen and keeping the peace in the camp. The rooms were four by three metres in area. On the longer wall a wooden framework was mounted. Across this layered boards which measured two metres in length were stacked with a varying gap of 0.5–1.8 m (1 ft 8 in–5 ft 11 in). Outside was a corridor that was a metre wide. In 18 of the 20 rooms 500 prisoners were houses, usually 22 per room. The prisoners had to travel some 5–6 kilometres (3.1–3.7 mi) on foot every morning to a quarry were they worked for eight hours drilling out limestone and fed 600 grams of bread and half a litre of cabbage soup. Zoner worked in the camp until the end of 1946.[57]

In January 1946 Zorner was moved to a harsher environment in a coal mine. He heard a rumour that officers of Major rank and above could not be forced to work. He refused to work any more and was subjected to punishment by the NKVD. The following day he was locked in solitary confinement. The following morning Zorner explained that he would prefer to work as a carpenter and the NKVD officers agreed. From April 1946 the conditions slowly improved in the camp. Ill-treatment from the guards, which had been rare anyway, stopped altogether.[57] At the end of 1947 the prisoners were allowed to send letters to Germany. In 1948 they were permitted to received packages from their families. In March 1949, Zorner and others planned to escape to Turkey, but events overtook them and the prisoners were repatriated to Germany.[57]

On 19 December 1949 the prisoners were deloused, given new clothes, and transported to Brest-Litovsk on 23 December. From there he was sent to Frankfurt, where he arrived on 29 December. On 1 January 1950 he was sent to Ulm and was processed on 2 January. Zorner then travelled to Kaiserslautern in the French zone of occupation to obtain his discharge certificate and was officially a civilian on 3 January 1950.[58]

Zorner studied mechanical engineering in Stuttgart and entered the field of refrigeration engineering before he rejoined the West German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in 1956. He was not passed fit to fly jet fighters and returned to civilian life in May 1957. He was employed within the chemical industry. He retired in 1981 as a chief engineer with Hoechst near Frankfurt.[58] In May 2006, Zorner received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) for his voluntary services as founder of the "Silesian Partnership" (Partnerschaft mit Schlesien). The association, which was founded in 1995, aims to improve German-Polish relations and, among other things, has organised help during the 1997 Central European flood.[59] Zorner died on 27 January 2014 in Homburg.[60]

Aerial victory claims[edit]

Zorner was credited with 59 nocturnal aerial victories, claimed in 272 combat missions, 110 of which as a night fighter.[61]

Chronicle of aerial victories
Victory Date Time Type Location Serial No./Squadron No.
– 2./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
1 17 January 1943 21:55 Halifax[11] 45 km (28 mi) northwest Juist
2 11 February 1943 20:44 Lancaster[62] 40 km (25 mi) west-northwest Borkum
3 19 February 1943 20:34 Boston[15] north Norderney
4 26 February 1943 20:46 Stirling[18] 30 km (19 mi) north-northwest Schiermonnikoog
5 7 March 1943 20:30 Wellington[20] northeast Norden
6 14 March 1943 03:51 Wellington[22] 3 km (1.9 mi) north Nordeney BK296/No. 420 Squadron RCAF
– 1./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
7 29 June 1943 02:20 Wellington[28] southeast Antwerp
8 29 June 1943 02:22 Wellington[28] 9 km (5.6 mi) northeast Leuven
9 4 July 1943 01:09 Wellington[29] southwest Sint-Truiden
10 9 July 1943 01:53 Lancaster[29] west Malmedy
11 25 July 1943 03:54 Halifax[30] 11 km (6.8 mi) northeast Gröningen R5573/No. 106 Squadron RAF
– 7./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
12 18 August 1943 01:53 Lancaster[33] Baltic Sea
13 18 August 1943 02:03 Lancaster[33] Peenemünde
– 8./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
14 23 November 1943 20:09 four-engined bomber[35] 40 km (25 mi) northwest Berlin
15 2 December 1943 19:24 Lancaster[63] near Diepholz
16 2 December 1943 20:29 Lancaster[64] southwest Berlin
17 20 December 1943 20:02 Lancaster[37] Hintermeiligen
18 24 December 1943 03:02 Lancaster[37] east Giessen
19 24 December 1943 05:43 Lancaster[37] south Diepholz
20 24 December 1943 06:02 Lancaster[37] Cloppenburg
21 3 January 1944 03:10 Lancaster[65] near Luckenwalde
22 6 January 1944 03:42 Lancaster[66] northwest Stettin
23 6 January 1944 03:51 Lancaster[66] northwest Stettin
24 20 January 1944 19:31 Lancaster[67] north Berlin
25 20 January 1944 19:45 Lancaster[68] north Berlin
26 15 February 1944 20:22 Lancaster[69] 3 km (1.9 mi) southeast Ribnitz ME636/No. 166 Squadron
27 15 February 1944 21:11 Lancaster[70] northwest Berlin
28 20 February 1944 03:04 Lancaster[41] Wesendorf
29 20 February 1944 03:17 Lancaster[41] near Wesendorf
30 20 February 1944 03:26 Lancaster[41] Gardelegen
31 20 February 1944 03:41 Lancaster[71] south Briest
– III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
32 24 February 1944 22:15 Lancaster[72] southwest Stuttgart
33 24 February 1944 22:22 Lancaster[73] west-southwest Stuttgart
34 24 February 1944 22:30 Lancaster[73] southwest Stuttgart
35 25 February 1944 00:25 Lancaster[73] west Stuttgart
36 25 February 1944 0:51 Lancaster[73] north Stuttgart
– 8./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 –
37 22 March 1944 21:43 Lancaster[74] near Giessen
38 22 March 1944 22:18 four-engined bomber[75] near Giessen
39 24 March 1944 22:57 four-engined bomber[76] east Leipzig
40 26 March 1944 22:30 four-engined bomber[77] French border
41 26 March 1944 23:04 four-engined bomber[77] west Sint-Truiden
Stab III./Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 –
42 21 April 1944 03:30 Mosquito[78] 20 km (12 mi) southeast Brussels
43 23 April 1944 01:03 Halifax[79] near Aachen
44 28 April 1944 01:20 Lancaster[80] southeast Nancy
45 28 April 1944 01:51 Lancaster[80] southwest Strasbourg
46 28 April 1944 02:10 Lancaster[81] northwest Friedrichshafen
47 1 June 1944 02:35 Lancaster[48] 30 km (19 mi) west-northwest Tergnier
48 3 June 1944 01:22 Lancaster[48] 30 km (19 mi) west-northwest Évreux
49 11 June 1944 01:00 Halifax[49] west Dreux
50 11 June 1944 01:01 Halifax[49] Verneuil-sur-Avre
51 11 June 1944 01:08 Halifax[49] Verneuil-sur-Avre
52 11 June 1944 01:42 Lancaster[49] 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest Dreux
53 25 June 1944 00:32 Lancaster[82] east Boulogne-sur-Mer
54 25 June 1944 00:50 Lancaster[83] northwest Étaples
55 1 July 1944 01:22 Lancaster[84] 15 km (9.3 mi) southwest Bourges
56 25 July 1944 02:25 Lancaster[51] west Strasbourg
57 25 July 1944 02:35 Lancaster[51] northwest Strasbourg
58 25 July 1944 2:54 Lancaster[51] 30 km (19 mi) northwest Saint-Dizier
Stab II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 100 –
59 6 March 1945 01:30 B-24[53] south-southeast Graz KH150/No. 34 Squadron SAAF

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Flight training in the Luftwaffe progressed through the levels A1, A2 and B1, B2, referred to as A/B flight training. A training included theoretical and practical training in aerobatics, navigation, long-distance flights and dead-stick landings. The B courses included high-altitude flights, instrument flights, night landings and training to handle the aircraft in difficult situations. For pilots destined to fly multi-engine aircraft, the training was completed with the Luftwaffe Advanced Pilot's Certificate (Erweiterter Luftwaffen-Flugzeugführerschein), also known as the C-Certificate.
  2. ^ According to Obermaier on 31 August 1943.[61]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Bowman 2016, p. 243.
  2. ^ Williams 2011, p. 160.
  3. ^ Williams 2011, p. 215.
  4. ^ a b Williams 2011, p. 161.
  5. ^ a b Williams 2011, p. 162.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Stockert 2012, p. 303.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Zorner & Braatz 2007, p. 322.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Zorner & Braatz 2007, p. 323.
  9. ^ a b c d Williams 2011, p. 172.
  10. ^ Everitt & Middlebrook 2014, p. 109.
  11. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 65.
  12. ^ Everitt & Middlebrook 2014, p. 117.
  13. ^ Williams 2011, p. 213.
  14. ^ Chorley 1996, p. 39.
  15. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 67.
  16. ^ a b Williams 2011, p. 173.
  17. ^ a b Chorley 1996, p. 47.
  18. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 68.
  19. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 69.
  20. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 70.
  21. ^ Chorley 1996, p. 68.
  22. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 71.
  23. ^ Chorley 1996, p. 77.
  24. ^ Bowman 2016, p. location 4052 (kindle).
  25. ^ Williams 2011, pp. 175–176.
  26. ^ Williams 2011, p. 176.
  27. ^ Hinchliffe 1999, p. 56.
  28. ^ a b c Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 91.
  29. ^ a b c Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 92.
  30. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 96.
  31. ^ Bowman 2016, p. 162.
  32. ^ Williams 2011, p. 177.
  33. ^ a b c Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 104.
  34. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 179.
  35. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 129.
  36. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, pp. 130–131.
  37. ^ a b c d e f Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 134.
  38. ^ Chorley 1996, p. 437.
  39. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, pp. 138–139, 141–142.
  40. ^ Williams 2011, pp. 182–183.
  41. ^ a b c d Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 149.
  42. ^ Everitt & Middlebrook 2014, p. 263.
  43. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, pp. 151–152.
  44. ^ a b c Williams 2011, p. 214.
  45. ^ a b Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 533.
  46. ^ a b Williams 2011, pp. 186–187.
  47. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, pp. 171–172.
  48. ^ a b c Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 181.
  49. ^ a b c d e Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 186.
  50. ^ a b c d Williams 2011, p. 190.
  51. ^ a b c d Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 204.
  52. ^ Stockert 2012, p. 304.
  53. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 240.
  54. ^ Martin 1977, p. 395–396.
  55. ^ a b Isemonger 2002, p. 235.
  56. ^ "Crew of Liberator VI KH150, "R", 5/6 March 1945". The South Africa War Graves Project. 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  57. ^ a b c d Williams 2011, pp. 193–197.
  58. ^ a b Williams 2011, pp. 197–200.
  59. ^ a b Auszeichnung für Paul Zorner.
  60. ^ Paul Zorner Traueranzeige.
  61. ^ a b Obermaier 1989, p. 69.
  62. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 66.
  63. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 130.
  64. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 131.
  65. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 138.
  66. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 139.
  67. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 141.
  68. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 142.
  69. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 147.
  70. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 148.
  71. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 150.
  72. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 151.
  73. ^ a b c d Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 152.
  74. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 156.
  75. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 157.
  76. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 158.
  77. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 160.
  78. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 167.
  79. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 168.
  80. ^ a b Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 171.
  81. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 172.
  82. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 192.
  83. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 193.
  84. ^ Foreman, Matthews & Parry 2004, p. 195.
  85. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 477.
  86. ^ Patzwall 2008, p. 225.
  87. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 809.
  88. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 459.
  89. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 88.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bowman, Martin (2016). Nachtjagd, Defenders of the Reich 1940–1943. Barnsley: Casemate. ISBN 978-1-4738-4986-0. 
  • Chorley, William R. (1996). Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War: Aircraft and crew losses: 1943. Leicester: Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 978-0-9045-9791-2. 
  • Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014) [1985]. The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 978-1-78346360-2. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945: The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Foreman, John; Matthews, Johannes; Parry, Simon (2004). Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims 1939–1945. Walton on Thames, UK: Red Kite. ISBN 978-0-9538061-4-0. 
  • Hinchliffe, Peter (1999). Schnaufer: Ace of Diamonds. Brimscombe Port, UK: Tempus. ISBN 978-0-7524-1690-8. 
  • Isemonger, Lawrence (2002). The Men Who Went to Warsaw. Nelspruit, South Africa: Freeworld Publications. ISBN 978-0-95843-884-1. 
  • Martin, Henry J. (1977). Eagles Victorious: The Operations of the South African Forces Over the Mediterranean and Europe, in Italy, the Balkans and the Aegean and from Gibraltar and West Africa. London: Purnell. ISBN 978-0-8684-3008-9. 
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939–1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 –1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941–1945 History and Recipients] (in German). 2. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D. (2008). Der Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg [The Honor Goblet for Outstanding Achievement in the Air War] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-08-3. 
  • Stockert, Peter (2012). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 6 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945] (in German). 6 (3rd ed.). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945: L–Z] (in German). 2. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
  • Williams, David P. (2011). Hunters of the Reich: Night Fighter. Gloucester: Spellmount. ISBN 978-0-7524-5961-5. 
  • Zorner, Paul; Braatz, Kurt (2007). Nächte im Bomberstrom: Erinnerungen 1920–1950 [Nights in the Bomber Stream: Memories 1920–1950] (in German). Moosburg, Germany: Neunundzwanzigsechs/SVK. ISBN 978-3-9807935-9-9. 
  • "Paul Zorner". Saarbrücker Zeitung (in German). 30 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  • "Auszeichnung für Paul Zorner" [Recognition for Paul Zorner]. homburg.de (in German). 17 May 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Boiten, Theo (1997). Nachtjagd: The Nightfighter Versus Bomber War over the Third Reich, 1939–45. London: Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-86126-086-4.